Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin did something good on Friday and then two things that are really bad.
The good news is that Fallin, a Republican, vetoed a bill backed by the National Rifle Association that would have authorized adults to carry firearms without a permit or training, as CBS News reported.
The bad news is that she also signed SB 1140, a religious–based adoption law that the ACLU of Oklahoma has called “discriminatory, anti-family, anti-children, and anti-First Amendment.”
Fallin also signed a bill that will allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed on public property.
According to a statement released by the governor, SB 1140 mandates that “no private child-placing agency shall be required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”
Critics say the law discriminates against LGBTQ and non–Christian parents, and they have vowed to sue to reverse the legislation.
“I’m extremely disappointed that our state has decided to fund discrimination in our foster care and adoption agencies. I am confident that Oklahoma will now be subject to expensive and unnecessary litigation and heartache for LGBTQ families,” Josh Stickney, an administrative associate at Equality Federation and an adoptee, said in a statement. “Furthermore, I call on the people of Oklahoma to elect leaders who have the true Oklahoma Standard at heart rather than this kind of bigotry and hatred toward their fellow Oklahomans.”
The ACLU of Oklahoma added: “This measure serves no legitimate policy purpose. Its only purpose is to shortsightedly advance the careers of politicians who are more interested in exploiting a culture of fear and hysteria than they are in effectively governing.”
Fallin claims the new law, which was passed mostly along party–line votes, will not restrict LGBTQ individuals and couples from fostering or adopting. “Instead, the bill will help continue Oklahoma’s successful placement of children with a broad array of loving families and basically maintain the status quo by setting forth in statute practices which have successfully worked for the best interest of Oklahoma children,” she said.
But the bill’s author, Republican Sen. Greg Treat, had claimed it was necessary to protect faith–based agencies that refuse to place children in LGBTQ homes from anti–discrimination lawsuits, according to CBS.
Unsurprisingly, the state’s top Catholic officials praised the move. “We are grateful for Gov. Fallin’s support of religious liberty in Oklahoma. The new law will bring more adoption services to the state and allow crucial faith-based agencies to continue their decades-long tradition of caring for Oklahoma’s most vulnerable children,” Oklahoma Archbishop Paul Coakley and Bishop David Konderla said in a statement on social media.
Fallin said the law is similar to one passed in Virginia in 2012.